Guide to Washington Museums

Washington museums are a treasure trove of history and heritage.

The Pacific Northwest is scenic, without a doubt. With lush temperate rainforests stretching out for miles and a glorious coastline with abundant sea life, whale watching and sandy beaches, there is much to see and do outside in Washington State. But if you're forced inside by the weather, the fun doesn't have to end.

Bellingham Railway Museum, Bellingham, WA

Bellingham Railway Museum, Bellingham, WA

In fact, the Pacific Northwest has many quaint museums offering an in-depth, personal view of the regions history. You can find tales of the early settlers and how they raced to be the city of choice for the end of the westward rail line in the mid 19th century.

You can also find exhibits demonstrating the indigenous people who called the area home before the white settlers came.

Learn about how they lived, what they ate, where they lived, and see actual artifacts from their times as the only humans in the Pacific Northwest.

If you enjoy visiting some of the more personal, interpretive centers and museums of the area there are plenty to chose from in Washington State.

Start at the Bellingham Railway Museum

This beautiful little Washington museum tells the story of the railroad history in Whatcom County, where Bellingham is the county seat and Skagit County. There are numerous model train layouts depicting the many rail lines which criss-crossed the area back in the days of the iron horse. The museum is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 12 - 5.

As long as you are in Whatcom County you might as well head off to the Whatcom Museum of History and Art

Located on Prospect Street in downtown Bellingham, the museum comes alive with local artists from today and years past. You can also learn something about the history of the area from the days before the settlers, and how they managed to eke out a living from the bounty of the forest.

Or, if you prefer interactive exhibits, consider the Mindport Exhibits Museum in Bellingham

This interesting little jewel contains a mix of water fountains and artwork; photography and natural objects displayed as art. It also has several hundred square feet of interactive exhibits to keep you entertained for hours.

Make Port Townsend your next stop as you cruise through the quaint coastal towns.

There are a couple great little museums you can visit.

The Coast Artillery Museum has some of the magnificent guns used to protect the town during World War II from what was then considered the very real possibility of a Japanese attack.

Or visit the Jefferson County Historical Society

This museum has been protecting the history of Jefferson County for more than fifty years.

Located in the old downtown Port Townsend City Hall building, the museum is replete with photographs and artifacts from the early days of the community including clothes and jewelry, furniture and toys from the days long ago. The Jefferson County Historical Society museum is open 11am to 1pm every day but Sunday when it is open from 1pm to 4pm.

The Port Townsend Marine Life Center is another great stop on the museum tour.

Port Townsend Marine Life Center

Port Townsend Marine Life Center

You can learn about the Pacific Ocean topography just off the coast of Washington State and the many and varied sea creatures that call it home. Come away with a better understanding of how closely life on the shores of Washington State is linked to life beneath the ocean.

Follow this link for a complete list of Washington State museums.

NOTE: Information correct at time of publication. Always check with your chosen destination before you travel.

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